Episode 3: Afternoon Spinnaker and the GBC goes to the “Gleason” Premiere

Hoowah, what a day yesterday was for the GBC (Ground-Based Crew)!

We should tell you a little backstory you may not all know. Before SailingforALS existed, a few friends named Trent, Matt, Rob and Gary (me) went on this long 10,000mi journey AROUND the country in my dad’s car that the leasing company would not take back after he passed away from ALS. It was born out of anger: how could these heartless people not take back a car under the clause that my father had passed away? It had such low mileage that I spitefully wanted to drive every last allotted mile and almost legally run into the ground. But the anger didn’t last and an idea surfaced: sure, drive it as many miles as possible, but do it for charity…Our charity was the ALS Association’s Golden West Chapter and our campaign was called the PanAmerica (www.PanAmerica.com). We blasted around the country and raised money and awareness for ALS. We like to think it made an impact on some people, but mostly it had a huge impact on us. We met some of the most amazing people in the ALS community. Why the long story? Well, 5 days into our drive, we landed in New Orleans, land of beignets, juleps, jazz, and many things that make life great. But we left New Orleans knowing that it’s the land of  real-life Saints: the people at Team Gleason (www.TeamGleason.org). Our contact was Lauren. She walked us around New Orleans and the Superdome and apologized about 79 times for not being able to coordinate a meet between Steve Gleason himself and us. We were bummed, but it was ok: we had never been so warmly welcomed by complete strangers in our lives. Lauren didn’t even know who Gary was or what he looked like (a goofball; actually, he still does), but when the four of us went to meet her she gave me a long heartfelt hug, almost like she knew it was me of the group who was hurting the most from what I had seen my father endure. We got t-shirts and stickers, and shout-outs on facebook/twitter/instagram…our followers doubled after we visited New Orleans. Needless to say, NOLA holds a very very special place in our hearts. When the PanAmerica was all over, my Dad’s good friends Charly and Fred came up with the idea of doing a PanAmerica over water, and SailingforALS for the Pacific Cup 2014 was born.

An evening at the Gleason premiere, with the man himself, Steve Gleason.

An evening at the Gleason premiere, with the man himself, Steve Gleason.

Long story short, we stayed friends with Lauren at Team Gleason. Gleason’s premiere in LA was last night and Team Gleason invited us. It was damn honor, let us tell you. Gleason is a stunning film of raw human emotions; some might argue it’s not even about ALS. We left the movie emotionally drained but also invigorated for life at the same time. Steve and his wife Michel are living breathing heroes. See the film. You will laugh at times, you WILL cry, but you will leave inspired.

Anywaaaaaaay, right as we were stepping into the premiere, we got an email from Charly that we’ve transcribed below. Ok fine, it’s about 14hrs late, but hey…the GPS tracker has a 6hr delay and we ain’t machines, ok?!”

OK, we’re doing a little better. Our days of puking competition are behind us. The winds have shifted a bit as we’ve traveled further south. We’ve launched our Gennaker and stay sail and basically turbocharged Thirsty. A little Muse concert in the background and we were pushing 11kts this afternoon. Fred even made some Vmax’s at 13kts in full Volvo Ocean Race mode with the water zipping up and over the deck. Sure it’s not any more comfortable to sail this way, but now we’re really hauling ass! We even passed the Sydney 36 with their full crew! They didn’t seem happy about that, so they hurriedly hoisted their spinnaker up and just as quickly had to take it back down after heeling over too far and eating seawater. Hehe

Most importantly, we finally ate a meal: roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and an orange for dessert (for the scurvy). We aren’t quite in Lynch-Bages territory yet health-wise, but we’re doing much better. As of this email, it seems like we are still No.1 in our division and 4th overall, including those that left today. We covered 200NM in 24 hours and our average so far is 40% faster than the past Pac Cups where we were fishing and swimming faster than the boat. At this pace, we expect to be in Hawaii in the 10-11 day time frame we anticipated. And weather reports are forecasting we might have to manage the edge of a small tropical storm in our last days out from Hawaii.

Anyway, Thirsty is balls-to-the-wall!

Chat with you guys soon!   -Charly


We’ve asked Charly to pretty please send us at least one picture, so we hope to see the next post with a picture of our sexy sailors.

On a more somber tone, it’s no secret the French ties this Team has to France. So it is with a heavy heart that say that our hearts and minds are with the beautiful city of Nice and all of France.

French flag

Position Day 3 - Morning

Episode 2: Happy Bastille Day & How to Feed the Fish.

Well we haven’t been hearing much from our intrepid sailors, nor have we received any pictures of the seas they are encountering. But if you checked the Pacific Cup tracker, you’ll see that as of 6:00am PDT, our boys had averaged over 8kts boat speed and have 1,730NM (1,991 miles) to go! What’s that mean? Well that means that Tuesday’s “carrier launch” race start wasn’t just a launch. It looks like Sailing For ALS has traveled another 200NM since we last checked-in with them!

090622-N-7780S-035 GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) Lt. Jim Imlah, from Newport, Ore., launches an F/A-18C Hornet, from the Death Rattlers of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 323, from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Steckler/Released)

We heard from Charly this morning with the following email:

On this 14th of July, our French Independence Day (Bastille Day), we would much rather be at our friend Marc’s house playing bocce ball and grilling some sausages on the BBQ! Instead of that, guess what? Reaching, more reaching, and a little more reaching sprinkled on top. OK fine, we wanted this, but it’s battering us. Of this three-man crew (our boat, Thirsty, counts as one), only one of us loves it: Thirsty. We’ve been speeding along and keeping our averages up, but it’s nonstop wet and cold. Life on board isn’t great: we live either lying down or on our knees because the waves are so violent that we can’t stand up or maintain our balance. And hell, there’s so much sea water washing up onto the boat, we’ll be able to open our own sea salt shop in Kaneohe. Next time we might consider sailing to Hawaii on board Clapotis, our 40+ft Lagoon catamaran… You know, beds, showers, warmth, dryness, and stability…all these luxuries you guys take for granted on land.

Yesterday was discovery day at the Sailing For ALS boat workshop. To start, we were late for our sail stitch and patch clinic: take the main down, slap a kevlar patch on it, hoist it back up, all while managing 12ft swells…Needless to say, neither Fred or I really enjoyed that class. As a matter of fact, it sucked. And i’ll refrain from commenting on the instructor’s capabilities… Then we had maritime electronics clinic that we were also late for: we switched back to our old electronics package because the new one lasted…oh…all of TWO DAYS! They don’t make’em like they used to, i’ll tell ya. But now we have our autopilot back, albeit compass-based only, we should be in better shape here….hopefully till we arrive in Hawaii…you know…NINE days from NOW! And to cap off the day, we had a cleanliness and maintenance clinic. With all that sea water washing over the deck, Thirsty had accumulated 4 buckets of it in just a few hours time. Speaking of buckets… You guys know how you think we’re well-weathered sailors who can take on the big ocean? Well, Fred and I are still in a head-to-head vomit comet battle. Fredy’s ahead though, because he missed our Home Depot bucket twice now.

Our best friend, currently.

Our best friend, currently.

Anyway, we hope to eat a little more today, dry ourselves off, and maybe even start getting warmer. Not gonna lie, I am dreaming of a searing hot espresso right now… All joking aside, we are trying to keep hydrated and rested as much as conditions allow because we’ve both had moments where we were operating in the red. Performance-wise, we are still in the lead for our division and last night we were No.4 in the entire race, so we’re still in attack mode.

We are thinking of our good friend Iain…we’ll bring you the winner’s cup, buddy, if it means we have to haul it into your hospital bed.

Alright, that’s it for now, we probably have some other damn clinic to attend, this time on deck.


There we have it, friends. They’re fighting wind, waves, cold, sea sickness, and their best friend is a Home Depot bucket. Let’s cheer them on; we’re sure they could use a few encouraging words. Plus, let’s be honest, we don’t want to blog about their Pacific Cup 2018 on board their luxury catamaran…that’s not sporting!

We’ll talk to you tomorrow for our next episode. Stay tuned…




Episode 1: Carrier take-off towards Hawaii

Do you guys feel the need? The need for speed?

Well if you logged on to the Pacific Cup’s GPS tracker recently, you might’ve noticed that by 3am PDT, our boys had traveled almost 120NM (approx. 130 miles) in just 15 hours of racing! That means they averaged just under 8kts of boat speed. This is really great news since the 2014 Pac Cup race start was mostly anticlimactic, with the boys averaging about 4kts boat speed over the course of the first two days. Not this time! Reports are coming from all the boats saying they had hard wind and waves through the night and nobody’s been sleeping. Who would want to when the boat’s bangin’ around and breaking first-day speed records?

Position at 3am PDT

Position at 3am PDT

We got an email update from Charly this morning at 8:30am PDT with the following:

For 4 years we had been dreaming of a Pacific Cup start Hulk-style on a reach towards Hawaii…Well we got what we’d wished for! 20kts of wind minimum with gusts to 30kts. Big waves and an angry ocean that would not let up. But our speed has been good. We are already tired and drenched. We barely ate, only having time and hand for a granola bar here and there. With the conditions as they were, the boat looks a little like Baghdad after all the tanks had plowed through. Our “Navigation Center” (me, Fred, and our laptop) has had its mind and strategy blown more than a few times in the past few hours: our autopilot lost its nerve and put us bow into the wind (what AP’s are programmed to do when things get a little too rough) 3 times in some of the most precarious situations, like at the bottom of a 15ft trough and with 25kts blowing! That’s always nice. Boom flies into our mast stanchions/stays, the boat starts sailing backwards with our hydroelectric generator pushed down low below the boat’s waterline (making it hard to flip back up with the reverse current of the water passing over it). Welcome to the feeling of panic on board! But we’re still in full Hulk/attack mode, looking cool with our elbow on the door sill with 20-25deg of heel-over. Fred is man-handling the tiller and is happy with all of the modifications he construed for Thirsty. Anyway, i’ll be more chatty later, but for now i’m suffering from physical (as opposed to mental) writer’s block: these conditions are not the most conducive to writing my novel. Talk to you soon, –Charly

In other news, it is maybe too early to discuss, but hey…we should tell anyway: SailingforALS/Thirsty is in the LEAD in their category!


Stay tuned…